Agnipath scheme: Caste certificate being asked from aspirants? Defence Minister Rajnath Singh clarifies

Rajnath Singh cleared the row after several leaders including BJP MP Varun Gandhi tweeted a purported document related to the Agnipath recruitment scheme that asked aspirants to submit a caste certificate. 

Agnipath scheme: Caste certificate being asked from aspirants? Defence Minister Rajnath Singh clarifies

New Delhi: Amid the Opposition's attack on the Central government alleging that the Indian Army was asking caste certificates for recruitment under the Agnipath scheme, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday (July 19) dismissed the charge as a "rumour", PTI reported. After several leaders including BJP MP Varun Gandhi tweeted a purported document related to the Agnipath recruitment scheme that asked aspirants to submit a caste and religion certificate, Rajnath Singh clarified, "I want to make it clear that this is a rumour. The (recruitment) system which was in place before Independence is being continued and there is no change to this."

Earlier, AAP's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh had targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue. "The cheap face of the Modi government has come out in front of the country... Modi ji, you have to make 'Agniveer' or 'Jaativeer'," he had asked in a tweet in Hindi. 

Union Minister Anurag Thakur also spoke on the Agnipath recruitment issue and said parties like AAP are trying to mislead the youth. "Recruitments are done as per Army Rules 1954 & Defence Service Regulation 1987. Some parties like AAP try to mislead & lie. They tried to mislead youth without knowing the truth," ANI quoted him as saying. 

"There are no changes, the details are the same that were collected earlier. Lakhs of youth have applied to become Agniveers, this shows that the Opposition's propaganda, especially AAP's lies, has come before the nation. AAP does politics of lies," Thakur added. 

BJP MP Varun Gandhi, who often takes the Centre to task over several policies, said he wondered if somebody's patriotism will now be decided by looking at his caste. "The government should consider the impact on our national security by changing the established norms of the army," he wrote in a tweet in Hindi.

JD(U) leader Upendra Kushwaha and RJD's Tejashwi Yadav had also slammed the Narendra Modi government for asking the caste certificate in the recruitment of Agniveers. 

Tejashwi Yadav tweeted, "Jaat Na Pucho Sadhu Ki Lekin Jaat Pucho Fauji Ki (Don`t ask the caste of a saint but ask the caste of an armed personnel)." 

"The BJP government is staying away from the caste based census. Even in Bihar, the state government is conducting a caste based census on its own expenses after the center refused to conduct it. Now, the same central government is asking the caste of Agniveers (Armed personnel) who are ready to sacrifice their lives for the country. They are asking the caste of Agniveers so that RSS could sack them from the job," he added. 

(With agency inputs)

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